WASHINGTON - With a record number of Americans registered to vote in the 2008 presidential election, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has taken the lead on a voter protection campaign with Andrea E. Brooks, National Vice President of Women’s and Fair Practices, as the coordinator.
NVP Brooks and AFGE intend to inform the public of their rights and responsibilities as voters, publish new information as it becomes available, and address other issues related to voters’ rights. AFGE and its locals are focusing on developing voter rights coalitions and working with existing coalitions on advocacy work and organizing voter rights efforts.
“The overall objective of the voter protection campaign is to have the nation’s citizens successfully get to the polls, cast ballots, and have their ballots counted,” said NVP Brooks. “Americans cannot continue to have their ability to participate in the Democratic process taken away from them.”
AFGE’s voter protection campaign targets the general public; however, a lot of attention will be given to those most likely to have trouble casting their ballots, including college-students, new voters, minorities, and older Americans. There were recent reports in Indiana that elderly nuns were turned away from the polls because they did not possess any form of I.D. This case holds true for other older Americans who do not need licenses because they do not drive or do anything else that would require them to have I.D. on hand.
“These key demographics have been disenfranchised in the past,” said John Gage, president of AFGE. “However, if a majority can successfully cast their ballot they could truly make a difference in the outcome of this presidential election.”
AFGE has recently launched student-oriented voter protection Facebook and MySpace pages (www.myspace.com/afgevoterprotection), which will help students better prepare for Election Day. AFGE will launch national radio and print ad campaigns, as well. AFGE is working with third party groups including the AFL-CIO; Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan group that works to engage young people in the political process; and the Alliance for Retired Americans, another nonpartisan organization that focuses on issues important to older Americans.
“The great decision facing our nation must be determined by the voters—all of the voters,” National Vice President Brooks later added.
For more information on voter protection, please visit www.afge.org or http://wfp.afge.org.